<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage prepend-5 span-11 last">Hopeful lawyer says Ng prosecution case a fabrication of guilt </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"> <H5>John Garnaut Guangzhou </H5><CITE>August 8, 2011</CITE> <!--<ul> --><!-- --></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imageLandscape --> <DIV class=cT-imageLandscape><IMG alt="Matthew Ng and Niki Chow. photo courtesy of family collection. date unknown. story by John Garnaut." src="ctsipad-art-wide-ng-420x0.jpg"> <P>Showdown expected with the Chinese justice system ... Niki Chow and Matthew Ng. </P></DIV> <P>THE lawyer defending Australian businessman Matthew Ng in a Chinese court tomorrow says the case against his client is "full of water".</P> <P>The indictment against Mr Ng is "abnormal" and a bribery charge so "ridiculous" that it "shows the institution handling the case was fabricating guilt'', the lawyer, Chen Youxi, said.</P> <P>His comments place the Chinese justice system under scrutiny and set up a showdown in the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court tomorrow.</P> <P>The case was already shaping as a test of Australia-China diplomatic relations after the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, raised it with Premier Wen Jiabao in April and Canberra expressed dismay at the 10-year sentence imposed on Rio Tinto iron ore executive Stern Hu in March last year.</P> <P>Mr Ng's wife, Niki Chow, said she believed her husband would beat the charges and be released. Mr Ng has not seen his family since he was detained last November.</P> <P>Their nine-year-old son, holidaying with family in New Zealand, and two daughters at home in Guangzhou, have been kept in the dark. "The children until now don't know where he is and keep asking when he's coming back," Ms Chow told the <EM>Herald</EM>.</P> <P>Mr Ng is an award-winning entrepreneur who founded the London-listed travel company Et-China.</P> <P>He was detained in the midst of an acrimonious commercial dispute with his Guangzhou joint venture partner, Lingnan.</P> <P>Mr Ng's indictment describes one charge of embezzlement, two charges of mis-stating company capital and one charge of bribery.</P> <P>The embezzlement charge involves allegedly unauthorised expense claims of 100,000 yuan, although several of Mr Ng's company directors and shareholders say the chief executive had the authority to approve his own expenses.</P> <P>Mr Chen, the lawyer, said the capital mis-statement charges were misconceived and related to a lawful merger.</P> <P>And he slammed the bribery allegation as "beyond common sense" because it related to 1.4 million yuan in ordinary director payments to a board member, Zheng Hong, that were publicly disclosed at the time.</P> <P>But observers cautioned that new evidence could emerge especially since two of Mr Ng's colleagues, Mr Zheng and financial officer Kitty Yang, will also be on trial.</P> <P>Mr Zheng has been detained in the Communist Party's internal and extra-judicial process, called shuanggui, a regime of isolation and interrogation designed to extract confessions. And Mr Ng's corporate adversary, Lingnan, is one of Guangzhou's most powerful conglomerates and is controlled by the same municipal Communist Party Committee that also controls the police, procurator and courts.</P> <P>But Mr Chen remained confident of a rare victory in the Chinese criminal system, following his own success in having charges dropped against a lawyer client, Li Zhuang, in a celebrated case in Chongqing.</P> <P>"So far, from the materials available, there is no senior official influence and only some people from a relatively low level of Guangzhou's corporate group and institutions handling the case have had some abnormal influence," Mr Chen said in interview comments posted on his blog.</P> <P>"This case is different to Rio Tinto, it hasn't reached the national level," he said.</P> <P>He said the fact of an open trial and extensive publicity made him hopeful that justice would be done and China could display "the advance of rule of law".</P></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>